Arizona lawmakers challenge Utah national monuments

Nov 8, 2023

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma are urging the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a decision by a trial judge to maintain protections for hundreds of thousands of acres in Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah. The August ruling was in response to lawsuits aimed at nullifying President Joe Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to restore these national monuments to their full size. The move to overturn this decision is an attempt by Arizona lawmakers to lay the groundwork for an impending lawsuit against the new Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni – Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in Arizona.

Since President Theodore Roosevelt first invoked the Antiquities Act to establish Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908, every single challenge to a president’s authority under the Antiquities Act has failed at the Supreme Court and in lower courts. “The president and Congress both know that national monuments are popular and vital to America’s future,” said Center for Western Priorities deputy director Aaron Weiss on the dismissal of the Utah lawsuits in August. “That’s why the Antiquities Act is still important today, more than a century after Teddy Roosevelt first used it. It’s time for Utah politicians to stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on pointless lawsuits that they know will keep getting dismissed.”

Americans overwhelmingly support presidents’ use of the Antiquities Act to protect historic and cultural sites and landscapes like Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni and the Utah monuments. The 2023 Conservation in the West poll revealed seven in ten Western voters support executive action to establish national monuments, and a strong majority of Arizona voters support the protections offered by Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni National Monument.

What you need to know about geothermal leasing on public lands

The Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office is holding a geothermal lease sale next Tuesday, November 14. Interest in geothermal energy development has been increasing in recent years, especially in the West where the majority of the nation’s geothermal resources are found. In a new blog post, Center for Western Priorities Policy Director Rachael Hamby lays out what you need to know to follow next week’s lease sale in Nevada and other upcoming geothermal lease sales in Western states.

Quick hits

Arizona lawmakers challenge Utah national monuments

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Quote of the day

I would hope most Wyomingites are grounded enough to identify alarmist, inflammatory rhetoric when they see it. To suggest that anyone is being killed by a BLM management plan is to offend the memories of real lives lost.”

—Martha Jenkins, Wyoming Wilderness Association board member, WyoFile

Picture This

lizard on rock


Zebra stripes are back in style during Reptile Fashion Week at Organ Pipe Cactus!

Zebra-tailed lizards sport stylish stripes along their tails, making them easy to recognize as they strut on by. The gentle-lizards of this species are outfitted with a black-to-blue blotch on their side, whereas the lady-lizards choose more modest wear, going without. If these posh reptiles are in a hurry, you may see them scuttle by on their hind legs to their next appointment, away from whatever was chasing it!

To learn more about reptiles, visit

NPS Photo

#reptilefashionweek #sonorandesertreptiles



Featured Photo: Valley of the Gods in Bears Ears National Monument, Bob Wick/BLM